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Editorial: Jump-start wind and solar projects through a wise Ohio energy law

The Plain Dealer|November 25, 2007
OhioEnergy Policy

Ohio lawmakers need to focus on creating imaginative, affordable incentives for solar and other alternative energy if they hope to lure manufacturers to Ohio in an increasingly competitive enviornment for such business. Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted says he's seen the light on solar and wind power for Ohio. It couldn't have happened at a more opportune time. ...The Senate's ill-defined requirement for 25 percent renewables and "advanced energy" by 2025 - as long as it's not too expensive - offers wiggle room the size of Lake Erie. That's not likely to mark Ohio as the next big market for wind and solar.


Wisdom requires writing renewable-energy mandates, with real specifics, into Ohio's pending energy-reform law

Ohio lawmakers need to focus on creating imaginative, affordable incentives for solar and other alternative energy if they hope to lure manufacturers to Ohio in an increasingly competitive enviornment for such business.

Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted says he's seen the light on solar and wind power for Ohio. It couldn't have happened at a more opportune time.

Now the Republican leader must get serious about garnering support to overhaul vague Senate language in an energy-reform bill to include actual deadlines and teeth for renewable energy in Ohio.

More comprehensive and specific provisions could jump-start wind energy projects in Cleveland, expand Northern Ohio's niche in solar power and favor the sort of battery innovations locally that might make this region a center of renewables production and research.

It's not as if the market isn't interested.

Just this month, a major ... more [truncated due to possible copyright]

     
Wisdom requires writing renewable-energy mandates, with real specifics, into Ohio's pending energy-reform law

Ohio lawmakers need to focus on creating imaginative, affordable incentives for solar and other alternative energy if they hope to lure manufacturers to Ohio in an increasingly competitive enviornment for such business.

Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted says he's seen the light on solar and wind power for Ohio. It couldn't have happened at a more opportune time.

Now the Republican leader must get serious about garnering support to overhaul vague Senate language in an energy-reform bill to include actual deadlines and teeth for renewable energy in Ohio.

More comprehensive and specific provisions could jump-start wind energy projects in Cleveland, expand Northern Ohio's niche in solar power and favor the sort of battery innovations locally that might make this region a center of renewables production and research.

It's not as if the market isn't interested.

Just this month, a major California wind turbine maker was in Akron, searching for companies that could make precision parts for its products.

At the same time, IBC Solar AG, Germany's largest solar power firm, sent a letter to Cleveland Foundation President Ronn Richard, committing to putting its U.S. headquarters in Cleveland - but not its solar production.

While lauding Cleveland's attributes, a company official suggested to Plain Dealer reporter John Funk that the level of Ohio's commitment to a renewables mandate remained unclear. Ohio lawmakers need to erase that uncertainty and focus on creating imaginative, affordable incentives for solar and other alternative energy if they hope to lure manufacturers to Ohio in an increasingly competitive environment for such business.

Unfortunately, what emerged from the Ohio Senate does not measure up - despite the bizarre claim from Gov. Ted Strickland that the Senate took his plan and "made it better."

The Senate's ill-defined requirement for 25 percent renewables and "advanced energy" by 2025 - as long as it's not too expensive - offers wiggle room the size of Lake Erie. That's not likely to mark Ohio as the next big market for wind and solar.

Reasonable benchmarks that take into account current costs and manufacturing backlogs need to be written into the House bills. The proposed law also must be recrafted so that everyone pays for advanced energy costs, not just some classes of consumers.

Before the House deliberates the energy bill, Husted must add specifics to his enthusiasm.

And consumers must begin to accept that energy is going to get more expensive - no matter what the final energy bill looks like.

Consumers' Counsel Janine Migden-Ostrander needs to get plugged into this process, too. Migden-Ostrander has flagged language in the Senate version of the bill that might insulate utilities from costs they should bear. Though it's not clear to us that all of Migden-Ostrander's criticisms are correct, lawmakers should pay attention.

Prodded by the large industrial users, the legislature and former Gov. Bob Taft deregulated the electricity market in 2001. Now, six years later, Ohio is in even more desperate need of a forward-looking energy policy.

Having gotten it so wrong the last time, the legislature cannot again punish Ohio consumers by bungling yet another opportunity.

Content truncated due to possible copyright. Use source link for full article.


Source:http://www.cleveland.com/poli…

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